STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Sanctions on Russia's Rusal could be lifted, Mnuchin says

The Trump administration is looking into lifting sanctions against a major Russian aluminum company founded by one of...

Posted: Jul 28, 2018 5:15 PM
Updated: Jul 28, 2018 5:15 PM

The Trump administration is looking into lifting sanctions against a major Russian aluminum company founded by one of Vladimir Putin's closest allies.

The Treasury Department is considering relieving Rusal of penalties even though its former owner, oligarch Oleg Deripaska, was sanctioned this year by the US in an attempt to punish the Kremlin for interfering in the 2016 US presidential election.

The possible relief for Rusal comes as President Donald Trump continues to deal with the fallout from his Helsinki summit with the Russian president. Democrats and Republicans urged Trump to ramp up sanctions -- not dial them back -- and strike at even more sectors of the Russian economy.

The US imposed sanctions on Rusal in April because of its ties to Deripaska. But the Treasury Department said a few weeks later that it was considering removing sanctions against the massive aluminum company after a surge in aluminum prices.

In an interview with CNN, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the US government knew the impact sanctions would have on Rusal. The company's founder, Deripaska, has since stepped down from his role as a non-executive director on its board.

"It wasn't a surprise that Rusal was going to get picked up if we sanctioned Deripaska," Mnuchin said on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting of finance ministers in Buenos Aires on Saturday. "We evaluated the impact. We made a decision."

Representatives from Rusal could not be reached for comment.

Related: US signals it would consider some exemptions on Iranian oil

By targeting Deripaska and six other prominent Russian oligarchs the Treasury specifically hit members of Putin's inner circle.

The Treasury said Deripaska had been accused of bribery, extortion, racketeering, ordering the murder of a rival businessman and having links to organized crime. Deripaska has denied "the alleged basis" of US sanctions, according to statements he provided to London's High Court, the Telegraph reported in May.

At the time, Mnuchin said the sanctions were intended to punish Russia for aggressive behavior around the world, which also included Russia's annexation of Crimea and its military campaign in Syria. But the move wound up roiling global aluminum markets.

Mnuchin said the priority of the Trump administration was to enforce sanctions against Russia, including Rusal, as required under a law passed by Congress last summer to punish Russia for interfering in the US election.

"We were going to enforce the Russia sanctions," said Mnuchin not put Rusal out of business. "The objective was to impact the oligarchs, not to impact the hardworking people of Rusal as a result of the sanctions."

Related: Defense bill offers harsh words for Russia and China

The law passed by Congress last year gives Treasury new powers to go after Russian oligarchs. Trump reluctantly signed the bill, which was passed with a veto-proof majority, despite criticizing the legislation and previously questioning the effectiveness of US sanctions against Russia.

While seeking sanctions relief, Rusal has taken steps to water down Deripaska's involvement in the company. Deripaska has previously agreed to reduce his stake to below 50% and resign from the firm's board in order to give Rusal a shot at getting off the sanctions list. Seven other members of the board, nominated by a Deripaska-owned company, also resigned in May.

Deripaska also has financial ties to Paul Manafort, who was Trump's campaign chairman in 2016 and is now awaiting trial on a slew of financial crimes related to his work for the Russia-friendly government of Ukraine. Manafort was charged by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is tasked with investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 election and related matters.

None of the recent sanctions against Deripaska are related to his ties to Manafort.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 513622

Reported Deaths: 10264
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34892556
DeSoto33234432
Hinds32638641
Jackson24854389
Rankin22507403
Lee16337242
Madison14922283
Jones14113247
Forrest13766259
Lauderdale12270324
Lowndes11305193
Lamar10659140
Pearl River9719244
Lafayette8846143
Hancock7836132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7210138
Monroe7010179
Pontotoc6990109
Warren6863178
Panola6759134
Neshoba6730210
Marshall6678141
Bolivar6445151
Union638297
Pike5928156
Alcorn5879107
Lincoln5530136
George510180
Prentiss503884
Tippah491482
Itawamba4844107
Scott477899
Adams4768125
Tate4756116
Leflore4729144
Copiah456495
Yazoo456491
Simpson4546117
Wayne443072
Covington433695
Sunflower4299106
Marion4277112
Coahoma4237109
Leake413990
Newton395781
Tishomingo383593
Grenada3777109
Stone365866
Jasper340666
Attala338290
Winston317892
Chickasaw315467
Clay312278
Clarke301195
Calhoun285049
Holmes271889
Smith269052
Yalobusha243947
Tallahatchie231553
Greene224749
Walthall221666
Lawrence218740
Perry213456
Amite209857
Webster205348
Noxubee188742
Montgomery181657
Carroll174541
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152939
Kemper145041
Choctaw136727
Claiborne134338
Humphreys131239
Franklin125529
Quitman107628
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96934
Sharkey65221
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845284

Reported Deaths: 16116
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161552006
Mobile742111380
Madison53307732
Shelby38338368
Baldwin38085589
Tuscaloosa36022641
Montgomery34492781
Lee25562263
Calhoun22586518
Morgan22459406
Etowah20018517
Marshall18782316
Houston17731425
St. Clair16884358
Limestone16148218
Cullman16054303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14989306
Talladega14196299
DeKalb12972269
Walker12030380
Blount10717192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10162194
Coffee9417192
Colbert9342208
Dale9020191
Tallapoosa7256201
Russell708165
Chilton7018170
Escambia6957143
Covington6933195
Franklin6342108
Chambers5784142
Marion5406130
Dallas5285209
Pike5119109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369580
Butler3435100
Marengo342493
Monroe337266
Randolph334867
Pickens333188
Fayette330385
Henry320666
Hale318389
Cherokee317863
Crenshaw260477
Washington257052
Cleburne254460
Lamar251453
Clay250869
Macon244864
Conecuh192862
Coosa185047
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
38° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 34°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
35° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 30°
Oxford
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 37°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 27°
High pressure will continue to control our weather forecast for the next several days. This will keep our area filled with plenty of sunshine. We will see both daytime highs and overnight lows gradually get milder and warmer.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather